Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
The Civil Code stipulates the following main rules in respect of general contractual conditions: general contractual conditions will become a part of an actual contract when their user allows the other party to get acquainted with the contents of the general contractual conditions and to accept the general contractual conditions. Such conditions may be accepted through an express - oral or written - declaration or implicit contract, too. It is a well-established custom that the author of the general contractual conditions adds an express declaration to the actual contract, according to which the contracting party accepts the general contractual conditions as a part of the contract.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Be very careful which law you apply to the contract as well as the dispute resolutions. It is advisable to turn to a lawyer that is specialized in international law.
Advisable Incoterms
Language of Domestic Contract
A legally binding document can be in English or Hungarian, but in the event of commercial or tax dispute, an authenticated Hungarian version is the governing document.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If it is not the Hungarian law that is used, use the other country's law to conclude the contract.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Szellemi Tulajdon Nemzeti Hivatala (Hungarian Intellectual Property Office).
Regional Organisations
For the protection of patents: the European Patent Office (EPO). To control trademarks, designs and models: the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property
Membership to the TRIPS agreement - Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
1995. XXXIII. Chapter XIV/C. Paragraphs 115/D-115/L year 2006. Law LVII.
Patents are protected for 20 years from the date the application is filed but must be annually maintained by a patent fee. Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
1997. Law XI.
Trademark protection is granted for ten years and
may be incrementally extended by additional ten-year periods.
Trademark Law Treaty
Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks
Government decree 266/2001. (XII. 21.) .
Valid for 25 years and renewable once.  
1995. Law XXXIII.
Government decree 156/1999. (XI. 3.)
70 years after creator's death for patrimonial rights
50 years for the first publication and registration rights
Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
Act No. XLVIII of 2001 on the Legal Protection of Designs
Industrial designs are protected for five years from the date of application and may be extended to a maximum of 25 years.  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The Hungarian Republic assures all visiting foreigners the security of human and civil rights without discrimination based on race, skin color, sex, language, religion, political opinion, national origin, fortune, or any other issue.
In 2001, Hungary implemented a legal rights protection network to provide legal aid to the Romani community and passed an antidiscrimination law that was introduced in 2003 as a requirement of EU membership.
The Language of Justice
Hungarian is the official language used in court procedures but the law forbids any language based discrimination. Thus, in case of a penal procedure each person has the right to use his or her first language both orally and in writing. Moreover, the use of a defence attorney is compulsory if the defender has an insufficient level of Hungarian.
Recourse to an Interpreter
Any person for whom Hungarian is not the first language must be supplied with a translator paid for by the Hungarian State if asked to stand in court.
Legal Similarities
The sources of Hungarian law are the Acts of Parliament, governmental and ministerial decrees, which are valid only if published in the Official Gazette, and decrees of local governments. The legal system of the Republic of Hungary accepts the universally recognised rules and regulations of International Law, and will align the internal laws and statutes of the country with any obligations assumed under International Law.

The Different Legal Codes

Polgári Törvénykönyv Civil Code
Büntető Törvénykönyv Penal Code
Munka Törvénykönyve Labour Code
Checking National Laws Online
Hungarian legislation
Other Useful Resources
Hungarian laws online
Courts online (in Hungarian)
Country Guides
NAGY ÉS TRÓCSÁNYI, attorney's document.

The Jurisdictions

District court 111 municipal and - in the capital - 6 district courts functioning as courts of first instance with general jurisdiction.
Courts of Justice and the Metropolitan Court of Budapest 19 courts of justice and - in the capital - the Municipal Court of Budapest functioning as courts of first and second instance, 5 of them specified by law deal with military cases.
Court of Public Administration and Labour
Regional courts of appeal 5 High Courts of Appeal.
Curia - Supreme Court Curia (Supreme Court) of the Republic of Hungary which is the highest tribunal with double jurisdiction: judgment and harmonization of the judicial practice.
Special Tribunals Hungary has special tribunals only in labour disputes. Labour courts shall proceed in the first instance in actions originating from employment relationships and legal relationships having the nature of an employment relationship. Labour courts shall operate in the capital and in the counties; total number of these courts is 20.

Court Officials

bírósági végrehajtó
Court official that executes the decision taken by the court.
bírósági végrehajtó helyettes
Deputy of the court official.
bírósági végrehajtó jelölt
Candidate to the court official position.
Bírósági leíró
In charge of noting and in charge of handing out documents.

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International Dispute Resolution

Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Arbitration Law
LXXXI law from year 1994
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
The parties agree that all disputes arising from or in connection with the present contract, its breach, termination, validity or interpretation, shall be exclusively decided by the Court of Arbitration attached to the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Budapest in accordance with its own Rules of Procedure.
Arbitration Procedure
The mediation procedure may terminate with the signing of a settlement agreement by the parties, and must be terminated if the procedure does not result in a settlement within 4 months from its commencement. The parties may freely initiate a court or arbitration procedure regarding the same conflict even after a settlement has been concluded, but there are restrictions on the ability of the parties to refer to information acquired in the mediation procedure in the court or arbitration procedure.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Permanent Court of Arbitration (Sectors Covered: Attached to the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, it acts as the permanent court of arbitration in international cases.)

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Latest Update: July 2024